Photographer Craig F. Walker, Pulitzer Prize winner and former York countian: ‘I always had a camera’
The Denver Post’s Craig F. Walker, a York Surburban High School graduate, reacts after winning the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for feature photography at the newspaper’s office in Denver earlier this week. The former York countian was honored for his photographic work of a teenager who joined the Army at the height of insurgent violence in Iraq. (See additional photos below. Photo courtesy, AP Photo/The Denver Post. Walker subsequently won a second Pulitzer Prize). Also of interest: Add another achiever to the list of York countians with impressive resumes and York County high school grads teach lessons in achievement on national stage and Local grads make good on screen, stage.
Craig Walker’s Pulitzer Prize is a rare achievement among present and former residents of York and Adams counties.
World-renowned composer Dominick Argento is the most prominent of the winners of this coveted prize… .
An example of Craig Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work. (See the full portfolio here. (AP Photo/Denver Post)
The late George Kennan, a policy expert in the Cold War, resided part-time in eastern Adams County. He won two Pulitzers.
The late Frederick Woltman won the prize as a reporter for the New York World-Telegram more than 60 years ago.
Clarence Williams, a former York Daily Record intern, won the prize in photography while working for the L.A. Times about a dozen years ago. (For more discussion on award-winning journalists with York County ties, check out this post.)
So, York Suburban grad Craig Walker is atop a short list. He would be a candidate for a a future Mayor’s Awards for the Arts, in the mold of the Governor’s Award granted Del McCoury and Jeff Koons last week. It would be inspiring to see “Ian Fisher: American Soldier” on the big screen at the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
York Suburban is adept at producing high achievers.
For example, two of York County’s three known Rhodes Scholars graduated from there: Eugene Ludwig and Gregory Lippiatt. (Humanitarian Spurgeon Keeny, of Shrewsbury, was the other. He died in 1988.)
After Walker won Editor & Publisher’s top photo award in 2009, the York Daily Record/Sunday News (1/31/10) profiled his achievement.
Here’s an excerpt from that piece:
Craig Walker remembers picking up a camera for the first time, an old Brownie box camera, at a neighbor’s house when he was a kid.
It wasn’t long before his parents bought Walker, now 43, his first professional camera. He started taking it with him wherever he went, snapping pictures all around York County.
“The pictures were horrible, but I wish I still had them,” said Walker, an award-winning and well-traveled photographer for the Denver Post. “Out of a whole roll, they probably found three that were actually printable.”
The York Suburban grad doesn’t have that problem anymore. An expansive portfolio of photos about a young soldier from Colorado earned Walker the top prize in Editor &Publisher’s 2009 Photos of the Year competition.
Walker talked about his work in a recent interview.
How did you get started in photography?
“I always had a camera. . . . In high school, I always worked for the yearbook and the high school paper. . . . The teacher that oversaw the newspaper said, ‘Maybe you should look into doing this for a living.'”
Were there any places or things you liked to take pictures of in York?
“I was always pretty people-oriented, which lent itself to anywhere. . . . I liked street shooting wherever I was. Every now and then, I’d like to go downtown.”
Were there any teachers at Suburban that had an influence on you?
“In my senior year, I had an art teacher, Mrs. Pomper, that was a really big influence on me and my photography teacher, Mr. Bitzer.
“And I had a homeroom teacher Mrs. Schaszberger, and she actually lent me a copy of a book called ‘The Family of Man,’ and it was sort of from when Edward Steichen was making a push for photography as an art form. So it really was a new way for me to look at photography. If you look at that book you sort of find some of the founding fathers of photojournalism.”
Was it important for you to be a photojournalist in particular?
“My whole family paints. And they’re kind of realists. My dad (who now lives in Glen Rock) paints a wagon, and it looks like you could walk into a picture and sit on the wagon. And what’s a truer form of realism than photojounalism. I guess I just got turned on that you could do something important and tell stories and share them with the world.”
York Suburban grad and current Denver Post staff photographer Craig F. Walker.